press release


WOU recognized for outstanding academic advising for third year in a row

for release: May 17 , 2010

MONMOUTH – This is the third consecutive year that Western Oregon University’s staff and faculty have been recognized for their outstanding academic advising by the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Dr. Marita Cardinal was awarded a Certificate of Merit in the faculty academic advising category and Karen Sullivan-Vance, director of the Academic Advising and Learning Center (AALC) was selected as an Outstanding Advising Award Winner in the advising administrator category.

Cardinal is a professor in both the Division of Health and Physical Education and the Division of Theatre and Dance and was the 2008 recipient of the Mario and Alma Pastega Award for Excellence in Scholarship. Her background is in dance and she has spent her career combining her love for dance with her dedication to dancer wellness. Cardinal believes that student dancers often face unique problems including musculoskeletal injuries, stress management, and how to maintain the stereotypical dancer’s lean bodyweight without neglecting proper nutrition and she wants to help dancers make better choices so they can stay healthy.

“I am so blessed, honored, and humbled, not only by the award itself, but by the time, effort, thoughts, and words of those students, colleagues, and administrators that wrote letters on my behalf,” said Cardinal. "Advising is all about serving our students and it is so nice to hear that my efforts actually made a positive difference in their lives. Their words make me want to work even harder to earn the recognition. Also, it is important to note that I am honored to be among so many other faculty and staff that work so hard and do such quality work for their students. I continue to learn from my colleagues, as well as the students themselves.”

Sullivan-Vance has been with WOU for nearly five years. She has an exemplary career in advising and has been heavily involved with NACADA, including serving as the past Region 8 Chair, Conference Chair for Portland 2005, Honolulu 2006, and Seattle 2010. She earned her master’s in education from Oregon State University and is currently working on her Ed.D. in educational leadership at Portland State University. She publishes on issues surrounded advising, students at risk and theory. In 2009 she was awarded a Dedicated Service Award from her advising colleagues in Region 8 of NACADA.

"I have the best job in the world. Every day I get to work with students that are in the process of becoming, and they become such incredible people. It really is a privilege to work with them and the faculty and staff of Western,” said Sullivan-Vance. “I am deeply humbled by this award. While it is a great honor, I believe that it belongs to the entire university as everyone here works to support and enhance the student experience."

In her role as director of AALC, Sullivan-Vance, appreciates the dedication of Cardinal, WOU’s previous NACADA winners, and all those on campus who advise students. “At Western, students come first. The faculty are committed to teaching, and to teaching students. That’s the advantage of being at a smaller institution, students matter and you know their names.”

Associate Provost David McDonald is equally thrilled about the recognition, “Effective and readily available academic advising is something that distinguishes those universities that are truly committed to student success, WOU is proud to have received national recognition for the third year in a row.”

In 2008, NACADA honored Dr. Michael LeMaster, an assistant professor of biology, as an Outstanding Faculty Advisor, and both Tamie Saffell (assistant director of AALC) and Bobbi Weber (an adviser in AALC) received recognition as Outstanding Academic Advisors. In 2009, music professor Dr. Kevin Walczyk received the Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Faculty Advisor.

NACADA was created in 1979 to promote quality academic advising and professional development of its membership to ensure the educational development of students and is the leader within the global education community for the theory, delivery, application and advancement of academic advising to enhance student learning and development. The organization has grown to over 11,000 members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Established in 1982, the National Awards Program for Academic Advising honors individuals and institutions making significant contributions to the improvement of academic advising.

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